Thursday, April 12, 2012

Can we stop hyping French property prices please

Just read this very positive article about people moving to France in the Daily Telegraph.

Entitled "Vintage investments: buy a house in France" it's the kind of feature that brings clients to my door and I echo many of the sentiments expressed in the article.

You might then say that it's a bit churlish to complain about it....but I'm going to anyway.

"France remains the foreign property dream: sunshine, scenery and, mais oui, the food. What’s more, the beating that the euro has taken of late means that now is a great time to buy. On the one hand, France isn’t about to go bankrupt, but on the other, the situation in Greece, Spain and Italy is dragging down French property prices.  

All of which explains why British interest in French real estate is on the up. “Between June and September last year, we saw an increase of 192 per cent in requests for our guide to France,” says Richard Way from the Overseas Guides Company".

Hmmm - we know British interest is on the up because Mr Way has sold more guides.  Is this really the best indicator that The Telegraph can come up with?  His guide may be truly brilliant but if he sold 23 this year and 12 last year then that's a 192% increase.

"Overall prices in France rose by 4.3 per cent in 2011, and look set to rise this year".

Hmmm again - that's a pretty broad brush statement (and didn't they say in the first para that French property prices had been dragged down).  If overall prices in France rose last year it was only on the back of a red hot Paris market which saw double digit growth.

Believe me, prices in most parts of France didn't rise anything like 4.3% last year and I'd love to know on what grounds The Telegraph are confident enough to say that they will rise even further this year.  We have an election coming up, no-one knows who will get in or what changes they will bring about.

Don't get me wrong.

I firmly believe that the French property market is more stable than just about any other in Europe.  I believe that there are some great deals to be had whether buying as a home or an investment.  I believe that there is a rock solid underlying demand from international purchasers who love France and want to buy here. 50 million tourists come here every year (it's the most visited country on the planet) and they do so because it's a great place to holiday, live and work.

But hyping the prices here is a bad long term thing to do - the market is trundling along pretty well on the back of sensible pricing and realistic expectations (from vendors and agents alike), let's not stall it.

If a publication as well known and well respected as The Daily Telegraph is going to write an article like this then it should be on the back of some proper research (BNP Paribas do a great bi-annual study on this subject or try the FNAIM or Notaires de France) and not because Mr Way has increased his sales and is brilliant at PR.


H.Peter said...

Maybe he owns a couple of properties in France and wants to unload.

Bill Tickle said...

Excellent commentary. Why do journalists insist on talking about "the market" when there are lots of markets and what happens in capital cities rarely has much interest to people buying abroad.

Vagabonde said...

I clicked on “next blog” and found yours. I stopped as I thought you were talking about the famous Cognac liquor but found that it is about property in that region. I then looked at your contacts and was very surprised that there are so many blogs, in English, about selling properties in France. I wonder if there are English blogs selling properties in England to French people? Then I wonder if there are blogs here in the US selling American properties? I have had a blog since 2009 and did not realize that so many foreigners liked to buy French houses. When I went to school in England being French was not an advantage… they did not seem to like French people that much. It is nice to see that things have changed. Bonne chance – j’espère que vous faites des bonnes affaires.